Effective today, DreamHost is now a carbon-neutral company.
But what does it mean?… It means a few things, actually!
It means we’ve calculated our carbon footprint. Our footprint represents the impact of everything that DreamHost uses and leaves behind in the course of our daily work. All of the resources that we use – paper in the office, electricity for our 1300+ servers, even the gas in our cars that bring us to the office – leaves behind some kind of soul-sucking residue in the world.
Electrical power plant emissions clog up our atmosphere. Cars idling in LA’s renowned freeway traffic turn the skyline a muddy brown. Angry profanity-laced faxes are printed on laser printers which generate headache-inducing ozone. (Thanks for those, by the way.)
Putting a price on carbon output is just one way to help make the world a better place. It’s a first step towards true energy sustainability. Organizations large and small are constantly working on reducing their environmental emissions to meet government-imposed (and self-imposed) emissions caps. When they do so a neutral third party then steps in to verify the reduction and issues what are known as “emission reduction credits”.
Companies like DreamHost can purchase these credits which are then immediately retired on their behalf. This effectively takes them off the market and the money goes toward funding further emission reduction projects. We are not currently able to actually power our servers with the wind or the sun, and this is the next best thing!
The market for purchasing voluntary offsets is blowing up right now, and as such it’s a bit of a wild west.
You can find “offsets” for as little as ~$5 at ton all the way up to $30. At the low end you risk purchasing an offset that is not actually doing what it says.
To ensure we got the good stuff we worked with The Green Office to obtain credits with true value that aren’t considered “trash tags”. We learned that our ecological footprint is 30,600 acres and we generate 2725 tons of CO2 per year. That’s about the same amount as 545 average homes!
We’ve offset that by doing a few things.
We’ve purchased Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) certified by Green-e. RECs don’t offset electricity-related emissions, but combined with the purchase of regular electricity they do help us to avoid them.
We’ve also purchased carbon credits certified by The Gold Standard. These credits come directly from reductions that meet standards established by the Kyoto Protocol and offset emissions from projects that would otherwise not exist.
We’re also looking for more ways to reduce our resource usage around the office and the data center. We’ve switched to using coffee cups made from fully renewable resources. In the last couple of years we’ve also been deploying many more servers with notoriously power-efficient AMD processors. As processor and server technology continues to evolve we’ll follow the path of power efficiency. It just makes sense!
And because Los Angeles is so large we’ve also got two offices on either side of the expanding megalopolis to ensure our employees spend less time sitting in traffic and more time not polluting.
“Big deal, DreamHost! Yahoo’s already carbon neutral! You missed out on the PR train to Happytown.”
Yeah well, Yahoo’s cool and all…but they’re not carbon neutral YET and so their train is broken down between Happytown and Pollutiontown! They’re still brown! Here’s a clown!
It only took us three days to go from “Hey let’s do this” status to “Hey it’s done!” status. Three days and several thousand dollars, but that’s another story. You don’t have to be a tree-hugger to appreciate the value of renewable energy and you don’t have to charge a premium for your services to afford it, either.
Every single DreamHost customer now benefits from our carbon neutral status. If you’re a DreamHost customer trying to reduce your footprint on the environment, rest assured that your hosting is taken care of! You are welcome!
Maybe you want to brag about how green your hosting is. We can hardly blame you! We’ve made some images below to help with that.
If you run into any of these icons in your web travels, click them! You’ll be taken to a page that’ll confirm (or deny) that the site is hosted with us and is therefore green!
If you’re a DreamHost customer and want to add these icons to YOUR site, just visit the “Home > Green Hosting” section of your DreamHost account control panel for linking instructions.
We may not be the first green web host out there but we’re probably the largest. Maybe we can encourage the whole industry to do it. It’s not really that expensive and it’s worth it!